What It Means To Be Taekwondoin

        Many people are misguided and view martial arts as some kind of religion. It is not. Taekwondo is not a religion and I do not agree with what others say who claim it is spiritual. To me that is bogus. Taekwondo or any martial art is a physical activity and it improves your body and preserves you from violent attacks. There is nothing spiritual about that. I recommend you go to church and read the Bible and pray to God for spirituality.

When you improve your health through physical activity of course your mind feels better and stress is relieved and a positive feeling comes over you. That is to be expected with ANY physical activity, even playing basketball or another sport.
But the difference is that Taekwondo is a fighting art and gives you confidence that sports do not. It gives you the feeling of being able to protect yourself, be strong and powerful and stand up to aggressors.

Philosophy within Taekwondo is simply that, philosophy. Just ideas and concepts. Yes with any culture there may be a philosophical concept that also has basis in a local religion. For Taekwondo of course Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism have presented philosophical concepts in the art, but that does not mean you are practicing a religion. Taekwondo is a Korean martial art and Korea historically was Shamanism and later Taoism and Buddhism from China influenced them and also Confucianism. You do not have to be a believer or practitioner or such religions to be Taekwondoin. In fact, I wholeheartedly disagree with all of those religions and vehemently dislike Confucianism, but I am still Taekwondoin and the moral concepts from various parts of the religions are good.
There is a moral code in Taekwondo called the 5 tenets. Courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self control, and indomitable spirit. These tenets are trans-religious and can be found any simple morality. They are good things and guide a martial artist, who should be a warrior in his community, to direct them to use their violent power for good and not evil. This should be for any martial art.

Competition is an extra thing and a noble pursuit if you do it for good reasons. Self glorification and ego are the wrong reasons but that is why so many guys fight and wish to be tough. What does it matter in the end if you were a champion in a combat sport or not? Does what you did benefit society? Is what you do beneficial to others and to God? That is what matters.

After you get old will you be able to fight like you once could? Things happen. Accidents, injuries and life situations. Of course being a serious Taekwondoin you MUST be able to fight and know how to. You cannot neglect that. Simply performing movements with n purpose makes no sense. Or if your purpose is simply to impress judges at a poomsae tournament then you are not a real martial artist. You are just a performance artist. Another problem with ego is when people learn a martial art to show off “cool moves” and glorify themselves by showing how many flips and kicks they can do. This is a pointless pursuit as well and is not martial arts. If you can do it on top of actual martial arts then good for you, but it shouldn’t be a goal. I don’t do flips and nether do many great and dangerous fighters. They don’t really have any practical application.

So your goal with martial arts SHOULD be learning how to actually fight well. The second goal is personal health and well being. If you are someone who fights or does a combat sport yet you neglect basic motions and perfection of movement you are also not a martial artist. You are a brawler who also engages in MMA or whatever. The best fighters are the ones who clam down, practice basics over and over, perfect the movement and do the quiet side of martial arts. As a Taekwondo fighter neglecting poomsae is an ignorant thing. Just because you do not understand poomsae does not mean it is worthless. Poomsae is the essence of our Taekwondo movement and only helps your body. When you are old, have injuries and more life situations you will not be spending time competing. What do you have left of Taekwondo? Nothing? Just get fat and sit around? Poomsae is what you have and practical self defense applications. Taekwondo and many other martial arts are things you can do well into old age and become a lifestyle choice. If you do not train your poomsae you do not train in Taekwondo and you are NOT Taekwondoin. I don’t care how many gold medals in Olympic sparring, MMA, or whatever you have.

Likewise, if you ONLY perform poomsae and never so much as hit a pad with force and you do not spar or practice self defense you are also not Taekwondoin! You are a performance artist and dancer. I don’t care what color your belt is or what certificate paper you received with your name and rank on it says.

Taekwondo is a fighting art and for self defense. Taekwondo also brings health to your body. Spirituality is found in Church. Don’t get it mixed up and think about the reasons you even train in martial arts.

Remember, it does not matter if you are the best fighter in the entire world and can dominate every other man you challenge or who challenges you. What does it matter in life? When it’s all said and done you have God to answer to about the meaning and quality of your personal life…

Peace of mind comes from God alone. Figure that out. Taekwondo skills are what matters, not a belt rank, or a fight record. Just practice and improve yourself and worry about yourself and not how others view you or your martial art. Other people dance, swim, play basketball, do gymnastics etc….I do Taekwondo. I train in Taekwondo fighting. I get the benefits that come with that. Others do not and that is fine, that is their choice. But do not get confused on what real martial arts are and what a true martial artist is.

Just do your best people! Give up and just train in the true way for yourself and not others.

This Is What The Kukkiwon And WTF Should Be Supporting

        If the leaders at the Kukkiwon were smart they would realize we live in a Kyeoktuki, or MMA, world and people want martial arts to work. Here is a Taekwondo world champion in Olympic Taekwondo, the WTF sport, who has entered MMA and has had some success and some losses as well. Point is, there was NO challenge for him or avenue for him after Olympic sport. What does a Taekwondo fighter do after he wins world championships? There is NO money in Taekwondo sparring competition. That is why Taekwondo sport is a sport for rich people who can afford all of the ridiculous prices for gear and special uniforms and other money making crap they charge everyone for. The poor and average middle class student cannot actually afford to do this or go to the Olympics in America. Even if they did have the cash, after they win it all or whatever the outcome is, there is no way to make money. Teaching sport? We live in an MMA world and people want martial arts to work in fights.

Check out Hong Young-Ki. A Korean, Taekwondo based fighter in Mixed Martial Arts.

Notice how he said the sport became boring. What will he do now? There is no professional level of Taekwondo. The only option is kickboxing or MMA. If the Kukkiwon got smart they would realize this should be the future of Korean Taekwondo. To support real fighters who can make Taekwondo respected more. The fact he is undertaking MMA is inspiring. The Kukkiwon or WTF should have a Kyeoktuki league for more serious combat sports. They need to have a Korean fight team that trains and has a camp in the Kukkiwon or Taekwondowon. Or just local dojangs. These are the types of fighters who will develop real Taekwondo to the next level. Ktigers and demo teams, and scorpion kicking sportists are regressing Taekwondo.

I think the Kukkiwon should capitalize on this and start promoting the serious nature of Taekwondo. Korean-cultural-kicking daycare centers around the world should not be the extend of Korea’s martial arts cultural export of Taekwondo, and should not be the end goal. Taekwondo fighting should. Accept challenges and fight. You can still promote the positive attitudes and character building of martial arts. MMA does not take away from the traditional aspects of Taekwondo and having someone from this traditional martial art doing more realistic combat sports should give major respect to Taekwondo as a whole. Uniforms, bowing, poomsae, and more. In actuality Ktigers and demo teams are ruining the traditional aspects of Taekwondo with their gangster-wannabe backwards hats and egotistical behavior on the dance stage.

Kukkiwon please support MMA!!! Join in or get left behind. This is reality and many people are realizing it, especially us waygukin (foreigners).

USA Today Article Discusses The Bull—- That Is Current Olympic Taekwondo

        I was looking up Taekwondo stuff on google and came across an interesting article on USA Today’s website about Taekwondo in the Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Olympics. There are so many unrealistic, non-combative techniques being employed to score on their silly electronic scoring gear that Taekwondo is not about fighting anymore. Athletes like Steven Lopez even complain about it.

The article is titled “Is that a kick? Taekwondo fighters devise new ways to score.” Check it out.

So many dumb kicks that have no real combat application are now going to be taught at many Taekwondo gyms in order to score points and try to win gold medals at tournaments. The World Taekwondo Federation is making so may stupid decisions on sport Taekwondo. So many people online are talking about this and uploading videos contrasting the difference between oldschool Olympic Taekwondo sparring and and the newschool tap, foot-fencing for electronic scoring gear.

Oldschool Taekwondo was what it was. It was limited somewhat, but the spirit and ideas and concepts of it and the way competitors fought kept the integrity of the martial art. I know back then many people still were full martial artists who did poomsae, self defense and everything else Taekwondo along with sparring competitions. Now days you see mainly sparring athletes ONLY wanting to do WTF sparring, and not master the poomsae or self defense, or anything else that makes Taekwondo a real martial art. The other half is busy doing idiotic things like Taekwondo-dance and performance art from gymnastics and hip hop dancing. Not martial arts.

I competed in many Olympic style Taekwondo tournaments and fought hard. I even made it to the Junior Olympics at age 14. The sport was dangerous and you got hurt while hurting your opponent. It was a combat sport. This instills fighting spirit in the Taekwondo practitioner and is an aid to get them into combat thinking. Taekwondo translates well into kickboxing and MMA and this has been proven. The WTF is truly bastardizing Taekwondo and making it kill itself in a slow and painful suicide. The WTF needs to get rid of its directors and leaders and get actual martial artists to come in. Throw out the silly electronic gear, give more punches points (heck change the rules to head punches being allowed! Karate is now an Olympic sport and will now claim to own face punching over Taekwondo and Taekwondo will slowly fade in popularity even more), and make Taekwondo sport a combat sport again! There should also be advanced options for people outside of the Olympics to spar without gear. Also whoever came up with the idea to wear national colored dobok pants was stupid. It looks dumb and looks like sport karate with their multi-colored gi’s that are ugly as hell. Get tradition back into Taekwondo!

I wish the Kukkiwon would admit the failing of the WTF and get them to start promoting more serious combat sports, or at least provide an avenue for what Koreans would call Kyeoktuki (Kickboxing MMA style fighting).

Olympic Taekwondo now looks so awful, so dumb, so boring that nobody wants to watch it. Dojangs around the world already lost money because of MMA and the rise of the UFC and it’s #1 status in martial arts sports. The dumb rules of WTF sparring and their electronic gear and ideas are not developing Taekwondo or making it more effective or interesting. The techniques are regressing Taekwondo and making it ineffective for self defense and something the average person who wants to take up martial arts has no interest in doing. This is why dojangs will lose even more money and students to MMA, Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu, Boxing etc. Heck even Karate, Kung Fu and the ITF will get more students now and have more ammo to mock Kukki-Taekwondo and WTF. After seeing the Rio Olympics ask all of your friends if they are interested in Taekwondo or think it looks like a very effective style of fighting. 99% will say no.

Fix the problem WTF!!! Do something! Make Taekwondo about fighting again!! Stop the madness! Kukkiwon PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE start promoting Taekwondo as a fighting art again…PLEASE! Many masters trained so hard and are only told they trained in dancing and how to show off and not true martial arts or true self defense. I beg you, PLEASE do something! Stop being PC and saying Taekwondo is about “spirit and culture” which are ambiguous terms that say absolutely nothing ,and are nonsense, and start saying “Taekwondo is a serious Korean martial art for effective combat using the feet and fists to smash enemies” like it was originally created to be.

Taekwondo is actually being developed and evolving into the future through MMA and Kickboxing fighting events. Taekwondo fighters are using techniques and footwork against live opponents actually trying to do more than jump spin kick their head gear for 4 points. Punches to the face, clinches, takedowns, knees, elbows and more are being thrown at them and they are using oldschool Taekwondo, even Olympic style, footwork and combinations that are winning fights. They are not using newschool techniques to knock anyone out. True Taekwondo as combat is actually being used, yet the World Taekwondo Federation is ignoring it and instead praising “scorpion kicks” and flippy tappy foot slaps on chest gear. Go figure. Everyone respects Olympic Wrestling. Everyone respects Olympic Judo. Everyone respects Olympic boxing. Nobody respects Olympic Taekwondo.

I wish the Kukkiwon and WTF would not publicly ignore MMA and K1. Oh they know it exists and they know the problem. They know Taekwondo is not the world’s most popular martial art anymore and people love watching real fights. They know it. Yet, they want to act like it’s not effecting Taekwondo at all. The late 1990’s they focused on children and being politically correct. What is interesting that other martial arts that still have a grasp on combat such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu are very popular and full of children participating at gyms everywhere. Even MMA gyms have kids classes and are making tons of money. It is possible to keep Taekwondo combative and serious but also teach children as well and build positive character. I will never understand the logic of many of the people running the current organizations of Taekwondo and their excuses not to focus on Kyeoktuki (MMA, Kickboxing, self defense) and have allowed groups like the Ktigers to bastardize Taekwondo even more with silly performances. That added onto what the WTF has done is a double kill.

There is still hope for the WTF and Taekwondo sport if they just get a clue now and fix the problem. If this crap happens again in the next Olympics Taekwondo Sparring will official die as a sport worth anyone’s attention.

What I Learned At The Foreign Master Instructor Course At The Kukkiwon

        I successfully completed the Foreign Instructor’s Course (FIC) at the Kukkiwon in Seoul, Korea. It was 5 days long for about 8 hours each day. I learned various things and had special training. I am so glad to have finished this course and so happy to be licensed as an official Taekwondo master by the Kukkiwon. One of the biggest goals in my life was to go to Korea to complete this course and become a Taekwondo master. I did it!

        I will discuss a few things that I experienced and learned during the event. There were plenty of interesting things I learned as well as figured out for myself about Taekwondo and martial arts and Korea. I will mention each topic in random order below. I hope to prepare other Taekwondoin about what to expect if they decide to go to Korea and become licensed masters. I personally believe for the absolutely serious Taekwondoin, especially those learning to teach should plan to eventually complete this course and become a licensed master. I hope to tell you what to expect during the course and some of the pros and cons.

The people who can attend this course must be 2nd dan or higher. Your qualification will only be given when you reach 4th dan. Those 3rd and below are given a “completion certificate” only. 4th and 5th are given a completion certificate plus a “successfully” completion certificate. These are the 3rd class masters. 2nd and 1st class are from “6th and 7th” and then “8th and 9th” dans.

 Many Lectures more than physical training

        I do not remember the names of the grandmasters who taught us and lectured us. This is because they did not list their names on any program for us to follow which I thought was a mistake. They should have given us the names of each teacher on the schedule. I think this slipped their minds. But each teacher was an 8th or 9th dan. I believe only one was 8th dan and the rest were 9th. The fact high ranking masters who have been involved in Taekwondo their entire lives in some of the early days of our martial art, are taking their time to teach us lower dan grades is such an honor! We were able to hear wisdom from senior Taekwoin who are grandmasters. How often can you listen to so many experienced people speak? During the course you get to learn so much and have them tell you how it is, and how the Kukkiwon stands on positions such as history and training. You maybe agree with it, or you may not, but even so you get to know what the official Korean stances are on topics. I find this fascinating and I was very satisfied on most of what I learned. It was refreshing.

       There were various topics such as history, philosophy of Taekwondo, demonstration, flexibility and first aid and more. The lecturers did not stick to one exact topic when speaking. For example the Philosophy guy spoke a bit about oriental philosophy and what the words “martial art” means, but he also spoke a lot about motivational things too. In fact most of the lecturers had a lot of motivational stuff to say. By motivational I mean they were motivating people to be martial artists and true masters. They really wanted to emphasize Taekwondo as a martial art and way to live.

A main example was how the grandmaster speaking about demonstration said nothing at all about how to make a great Taekwondo demo, but instead seemed to talk to us about how to be a true martial art master and what exactly Taekwondo is. He also talked a lot about history and dates of events. He was inspiring because he mentioned that a Taekwondo master has to know it all and research everything including actual/practical fighting. He used to be a kickboxer as well. A few of the grandmasters mentioned they did kickboxing at some point. I really think the Kukkiwon should try to emphasize practical fighting more and promote kickboxing and MMA as a valid outlet for Taekwondo competition but they are still focused on the Olympics and their annual Hanmadang performance competition. This master who taught this portion of the course was also the master who protested shirtless in front of the Korean government building against the special “jump dan” promotion test the Kukkiwon was doing for awhile. He knelt with just his dobok pants and black belt on without a shirt. He and others rightly protested it and they changed it. This guy is a true martial artist!

        Other topics were about proper promotion testing procedures and some first aid stuff. Remembering everything is pretty much impossible, but they gave us a course textbook w can refer to later. There was also a guy who spoke a lot on psychology and a lot of things that I thought was nonsense. He was a University professor. I think he was possibly from Yongin. I found what he spoke about hard to follow. He even talked about the movie Basic Instinct. Of course I respect him as an academic and grandmaster of Taekwondo, but I thought his lecture was a bit strange. It was kind of weird and inappropriate because he talked about sexual topics from that movie. I had no clue why he was talking about this and how it related to Taekwondo teaching. It had to do with desire, ego, and other things like that apparently. Honestly, a lot of the lectures like that were very boring to me and there was not enough time to in-depthly discuss each issue. Also we had practically no time to actually read the FIC textbook they gave us.

        The topics on first aid and flexibility were scientific and very interesting but there is no way that within an hour and a half (about how long each lecture was) we could memorize everything about those things. I think the main point is to research it later myself and understand it better. I can also read the textbook later about these topics. I am very glad they gave us a textbook. Unfortunately, it has many grammatical errors as a native English speaker did not edit it for them. Some things are hard to understand. This book is not the official Kukkiwon textbook, but a special textbook for the FIC graduates. I was hoping they would have given us an official Kukkiwon textbook, but I will have to buy that myself later for personal reference.

        The gist of the messages that I personally learned from were that Taekwondo is a martial art. It is a fighting system. There is a sport of Taekwondo, but Taekwondo is not a sport in itself. Taekwondo in the past used to focus on serious things including killing techniques. The demonstrations of the past showcased many powerful things. Now days Taekwondo has turned into more of a performance show. The grandmaster who said this was the one on the topic about demonstration and he did not say if this was bad or not, but said it with the attitude that it simply is what it is…that Taekwondo is a serious fighting art and deadly (not in those exact words but it was implied heavily), yet it has changed and the culture wants something else. I feel he did not openly want to state this change to performance art demonstration was bad, but felt he was sort of negative about it and wanted us to be true martial artists who can fight. He told us he used to kickbox and that practical/actual fighting is something we as masters should be researching. This grandmaster also gave us a bulk of history lessons with his motivational approach. There are many important dates that we should all know about Taekwondo’s history. I took some notes and will now list them.

Demo’s are very important. Demonstrations are a way to advertise our martial art and “are first showing.” They are for advertisement and diplomacy. In the old days they showed many hard techniques such as power breaking, self defense including killing techniques. Now demonstration seems more of a performance and less people want to promote fighting. Koreans call this kind of combat sport K1. Everyone is interested in full contact fighting but they do not always want children training for this. 

Instructors of Taekwondo need martial arts. This is what is the most important thing. Anyone can do sport and sport is not important. Martial arts is what is in our hearts.

1960 – there was the Vietnam demonstration which made Taekwondo to be viewed as a serious martial art in the world and showcased the effective fighting techniques. In the 60’s demos were not that important to do on the scale they were later.

1970 – demos became very important and emphasized. The Kukkiwon threw out the Pal Gwe forms and replaced them with the Tae Geuk poomsae. 

1971 – The Kukkiwon established first it’s demonstration team. 

1974 – The Kukkiwon then began to perform demonstrations worldwide.

1980 – Taekwondo became a university subject in Korea

Instructor’s need to know all poomsae and all the names of them. They need to know the real point of Taekwondo. They need to know gyoreugi (sparring), they should be able to perform various combinations of techniques, and instructors need to know how and do everything including real fighting. Instructors have to know how to actually fight.  

        The WTA president lectured us also about Taekwondo philosophy and about being powerful. Taekwondo is meant to build up muscle and strength and make one powerful. He was fierce in his lecture and even looked at me and did a mock strike at my face. I do not know why he did that. He also punched the podium and made a dent with his knuckle. I think he did it on accident but then pretended he meant to. HAHA! He slightly dented the wood on it and now it has his knuckle mark in it. He also made another swing at me later when speaking in order to surprise me. I sat in the front row and he went for my neck with a kind of knife hand or spear hand strike. This time I was ready and I blocked it. He acted surprised because I was prepared for it.

        He also gave us a lot of health advice for our bodies. He told us that we must drink lots of water. He asked me how much water a day I drink and told me that a guy my size should drink 10 classes of water a day. He was so serious about water and said Koreans view it as “spirit” and it gives people life and spirit. We need to drink water. But he saw I had a large jug of Pocari Sweat and criticized me for drinking it claiming it is unhealthy and pure water is better. I know that science and research says otherwise though, that when doing extreme workouts and with excessive sweating sports drinks are better; but I did not argue. He also emphasized we should not drink cold water, but only warm water. Chinese people also believe this. I do not agree with this and believe many times cold water is better to drink if you are getting really hot in very hot and humid weather. We need to cool our bodies down. But typically we can drink lukewarm water and it is good. This is what I believe.

I had been living in Korea for the year before this course and what is funny is Koreans hardly drink water. Every day I barely see any Koreans drinking water throughout the day. The average Korean will attest that drinking water while eating is extremely bad for your health and ruins your digestion. This belief is unfounded and a superstition. Science says otherwise. Even so, in Korea they usually drink a small cup of water after a meal which is a child’s size cup by western standards. It makes no sense to me, but it was great to hear the WTA president claim we should drink loads of water. I do every day. Koreans think I am crazy for drinking so much water. Even though many Korean dishes are soups which include water which would contradict their claims that drinking water while eating is bad.

I will now list some notes from the lecture:

Philosophy is our base knowledge and what gives us confidence. It is how we know our own self. 

Taekwondo philosophy is from our mind-ego-self confidence.

Masters must earn power and strength before they can even talk about Taekwondo philosophy. A master must build his muscles and power up and be strong. After this and only after can he talk philosophy.

Six tips for a healthy body:          1. fresh water            2. oxygen           3. proper food
4. Taekwondo training (not sports)         5. positive thinking
6. way or instruction of training (beup do)

You should not drink cold water, only warm water.  

Breathing is important and there are 3 types of breathing. Automatic-mechanism, semi-automatic, and manual mechanism.
When we are sitting we should breath slow, but if we are active we should breath fast. Do not breath fast if you are not moving and just sitting or something. If you are active and moving you should breath fast and not slow. 11 parts of the body aide in breathing. With automatic breathing we breath 5cc’s of air. There are 2 parts of breathing air: Semi-automatic breathing clears out dirty air in our lungs such as when we yawn. Manual breathing must also be done to finish making our body clean. When doing meditation one should breath slow with the nose first and avoid dust and cold air. The nose makes air warmer. 

Eat only when you are hungry. Eat until you are no longer hungry and do not eat anymore than that. Oil from food becomes stored in the body. 

A true Taekwondo master must have the confidence to win and beat anybody. 

A master should be able to make one motion and one kill. If you cannot do this then you are not a true master. 

A master must have positive thinking and spirit. 

The mind gets spirit from a healthy body. 

A master should get healthy through Taekwondo training and not other physical training or sports. Taekwondo training itself is what should make us powerful and healthy.

The lessons from your master gives you a healthy mind. 

        Overall the grandmasters want Taekwondo masters to be powerful, know how to actually fight, be muscular, be tough and know all of Taekwondo. A master has to know it all. He cannot only know part of it. This goes against some of the attitudes that Taekwondo people worldwide believe that we should specialize in a certain part of Taekwondo such as being a poomsae expert, or a sport sparring expert, or a demo expert. I like how they told us we should know it all and be good at everything. We need to actually know how to fight and know self defense.

Taekwondo history and the Kukkiwon’s official stance

       Taekwondo history was taught by Grandmaster Kim Young S. (9th dan). The Kukkiwon holds the belief that there were 5 main kwans that started Taekwondo in the beginning and that the history of Taekwondo starts in the late 40’s through Japanese Karate. The modern history is the most important history according to what they taught us. Of course they told us Taekwondo is originally from ancient martial arts in Korea going back 2,000 years which I honestly do not believe. We learned a small amount about subak, o byeng, subak-hee and other names. The last two are said to be unique martial arts to Korea. They believe that Okinawa was influenced by Korean martial arts somehow. I do not believe this at all. But some of the history was Korean national propaganda, but most of it was not. They did mention that China influenced Korea in in the beginning of their martial arts. One of the most interesting claims they made was that Taekyeon in fact DID NOT influence Taekwondo. They admitted that there is no evidence to support this claim and that Taekyeon existed along side soo bak and other styles. They claim only kwanbeop influenced Taekwondo.

        The Kukkiwon also admits that later Japanese and Okinawan Karate influenced Taekwondo greatly. Mostly through Tang Soo Do which was Karate.

        The 5 main kwans were:

Lee Wan Kuk’s Chungdokwan which was the Tang Soo Do style.

Yun Bung In’s YMCA Kwanbeop (this later became Chang Mu Kwan)

Chun San Sup’s Cheoson Yu Mu Kwan Beop Bu (this later was named Jidokwan, but they emphasized it was not originally Jidokwan at the time they founded Taekwondo originally)

Hwang Kee’s Mudukwon (originally he taught Hwa Soo Do but then later started teaching Tang Soo Do)

Byung Ji Ro’s Song Do Kwan

These kwans were all influential in what they called “original Taekwond0” which was around 1946-1947. Basically, it was Karate.

 Here are some notes with dates and things that the lecturer told us are the official stance of the Kukkiwon about Taekwondo’s history:

The Korean War caused a lot of chaos. It was 1950-1953. This limited what kwans could be doing during this time. 

General Choi was a 2 star general. He did not earn a real black belt in Karate in Japan and instead spent his time self training. There is no evidence to prove he ever received a black belt from Gichin Funakoshi. He founded the O Do Kwan with permission of the Chung Do kwan. O Do Kwan was a sub-kwan that became its own. The other kwan leaders actually were high dan ranks such as 4th and 5th dan black belts ranked in Japan in the art of Karate. Others were masters of Chinese martial arts as well. Choi was a general and had influence, but not from martial arts skills. 

In 1955 General Choi came up with the name Taekwondo and the name was accepted by the other kwans in the KTA. He wanted to be a “power man” and take control and tell everyone what to do. Since he did not have masterful skills in martial arts the other kwan leaders did not respect him in the same way. Yet, he was trying to fully control Taekwondo. He did not actually create Taekwondo and coming up with a name for a unified Korean martial art does not make him the creator of Taekwondo. He did not even have a real black belt. 

General Choi published the first Taekwondo book available to civilians. This is why people claim he wrote the first book on Taekwondo. But in reality 1 month before this book was published, the military had published a book on Taekwondo for soldiers. The difference was General Choi’s book was more developed. 

General Choi was the 3rd president of the KTA. It is always stated that Choi was the 1st president of the KTA, but the Kukkiwon claims the first president was another general named Chae Myung Shin who was a 3 star general and collaborated with General Choi Hong Hi and had many discussions about Taekwondo. Choi was only a 2 star general. (If anyone wants to argue these claims do so in the comments and please provide some evidence and explanations). So according to the Kukkiwon official stance General Chae was the first president. Not General Choi. 2 different guys.  

The KTA started sparring competitions. The KTA changed the martial arts name to Taesoodo. Later, General Choi changed the name back to Taekwondo when he was re-elected and became the 3rd president of the KTA. 

In 1963 Taekwondo became an official demonstration sport for Korea

In 1964 the hogu  was created by the Jidokwan. This is the Taekwondo chest protector. Later this year Taekwondo sparring became the official, national sport of Korea. 

In 1971 Dr. Kim Un Young became the president of the KTA.

The concept of Kukkiwon (Ku Ki Won) was created which means “National Techniques.” Dr. Un Young Kim developed Taekwondo further for athletic competition. 

The Kukkiwon building was built in 1972 on November 30th. This was 24 years after the beginning of Taekwondo.

1973 was a very important and major year for Taekwondo. The World Taekwondo Federation was established. Bruce Lee had used Taekwondo kicks in his movies which impressed the masses. He died that year and Bruce Lee was memorialized and much focus was on his martial arts. His movie kicks inspired many people to want to learn to kick like him. This same year the First World Championships occurred. Many people were impressed with Taekwondo’s kicking techniques. Bruce Lee actually trained with Taekwondo masters and learned kicks from them. One of these masters was a Kukkiwon master who is alive today. He was the one who was teaching this lecture. 

1974 and 1975 the first and second Asian World Championships. Taekwondo was a demonstration sport and became more popular.

1976 a Korean Robot Cartoon movie about a hero who was a Taekwondo black belt who controlled a giant robot made Taekwondo really popular with kids. 

1986 Taekwondo became an official sport in the Asia Games.

1988 Taekwondo became a demonstration sport in the Olympics

1994 Taekwondo was accepted to be an official Olympic sport.

1996 Taekwondo became  a major image in Korean culture and the government made it the official sport and martial art and cultural heritage of Korea.

2000 Taekwondo was an official Olympic event. The first Olympic Taekwondo event. 

The training in the FIC…

        The training portion was small and maybe we had 2 to 3 total hours a day of physical training. We rushed through the poomsae so fast that you could not remember every detail. So hopefully people already knew the poomsae before coming to Korea, yet I know for a fact many did not. This is what is odd about foreign Taekwondo people is many were terrible at poomsae and did not even correctly know them. It was crazy and it became a big issue with them when it came to testing time. People who were 4th dan not correctly knowing poomsae or even all of them is so wrong! We also did not have to actually spar ever the entire course. I fully expected to do sparring. We never once geared up. During the sparring training all we did were some team building games and foot work as well as kicking the paddles in combinations. But don’t misunderstand me, the training was physically demanding. You had to be in shape and have decent cardio to make it through the entire workouts. It was also extremely hot and humid in Korea and the Kukkiwon had no air conditioning, but had some large tubes connected to large fans on the edges of the mat to direct air onto the floor.

        They made us do movements over and over in the 90 degree heat in the Kukkiwon dojang. I felt like I was going to die, in fact most of us did. I sweated more than everyone there in fact. I went all out with every motion I performed. I felt odd because of the massive puddle of sweat I left all over my area. But as for making sure we could fight, I did not get any of that. We did have a self defense training session that was probably the best part of the course for me. It was fun and we worked on practical self defense and fighting. Punches to the face, knees, takedowns, armbars and chokes. Very cool. It was much like street fighting and MMA. It was awesome to know the Kukkiwon has the goal of promoting these kinds of things. True combat. The grandmaster who taught that portion also teaches the Korean army their combatives and he has worked with his team for 5 years to promote self defense to the Kukkiwon and wrote a book and made a video on it. It was inspiring to train this way and it is what I remember when I started Taekwondo as a teenager back in the 90’s. True fighting. There were a lot of joint locks and wrist lock throws and more. I totally loved this training and made me feel good about the possible future of Kukki Taekwondo being a real fighting art. The grandmaster also told me that he used to be competitive kickboxing as well. He was a real fighter and now taught the military.

        The entire week we had to be in our doboks. I recommend bringing 2 each day because if you do physical training there is a big chance you will be soaked in sweat. You do not want to be in sweaty clothes sitting in a classroom the rest of the day. So bring 2. After the second day I began to bring 2 uniforms each day and benefited greatly from it.

         One big thing I notice is the kindness and humility of the grandmasters. They took time to teach us and lecture us. They answered questions and were positive to us. Of curse they were strict and at times I felt afraid of them. Sometimes someone would be late or talk in class and one guy would yell or claim he should just leave because we don’t care he is teaching. But people quickly would say “No, no no!” They don’t play games, but they are very kind and love to share their knowledge. They were way nicer than some of the people who run the office. Almost all of them would stay for photos with people. Another funny thing i some of the are chain smokers even though it is typical understood smoking is bad for Taekwondo. I find this interesting. In fact most Korean men in general are chain smokers. I think it is simply an American thing that an instructor should not smoke or drink. Koreans smoke and drink like crazy. I am not encouraging people to smoke though. I think it is terrible.

        I believe the Kukkiwon FIC is a must for any serious high ranking black belt who wants to make Taekwondo a huge part of his life and not just a hobby. Some foreigners told me that Taekwondo is just a hobby and they are only taking the course for the fun of it, and it is not a big deal. I find this annoying. We need future masters who will take the advice of the grandmasters and be true masters and fighters in our style. So I believe the FIC is good for a lot of inner knowledge and not just physical. It is good to be taught “the way they want it” and to at least listen to it. Take what you want and agree with whatever you agree with, and ignore the things you do not agree with. But take the course and get properly certified. Often they hold the FIC in other countries as well for people who cannot travel to Korea. But each year it is held in Korea so go to the Kukkiwon website and look at the news for when they are holding the next one. When you pass the course you will be added to the database online which will list your photo and that you complete the master instructor course. The qualification is recognized officially by the Kukkiwon and the Korean government.

That is just a basic summary of what I learned. Of course there were more lessons I learned but this is enough to explain what you should expect.

I Angered General Choi’s Grand Daughter And A Bunch of ITFer’s

        Just a couple of days ago my blog got a lot of traffic from ITF people who are upset at my article about General Choi’s Juche communist sympathies. Jasmine Choi, the late grandmaster general Choi’s granddaughter also posted a comment in sheer anger with many insults about my character. Her and several ITF masters posted a lot of comments and are still doing it if you want to check that post out and read the fun.

This is what Jasmine Choi posted on my article in the comments section:

Wow. Just wow. I cannot believe the garbage I’m reading. You are extremely uneducated about ITF and about General Choi. Imbeciles like you should need to concentrate on whatever “art” you are doing and stop obsessing about someone that is deceased. And you stating General Choi holding hands with Kim Jung Il is ABSURD!!!!!!!! Maybe you need your eyes checked or you’re really that delusional clearly they are not holding hands. Get a life and continue training whatever art you practice I saw the photo of you,you look like I would be able to beat you in sparring. Not sure if you were bullied in highschool but you definitely have small man syndrome. In the martial art as a whole we address other Grandmasters and Masters either by Grandmaster,Master,etc.. or at LEAST Mr whether they are your enemy or not. It’s standard protocol. You have no respect and are spreading this nonsense to guilable readers. Such a lengthy garbage article you must have a lot of time on your hands. Who are you anyway??? Who gives you the right to write this slandering article?! Also,if someone has a photo standing beside someone means they are best friends?!? Politicians that are enemies take photos together so what?! You are extremely juvenile and I’m convinced you are a pink belt of whatever martial art you are taking up. Let my grandfather rest in piece you disrespectful little keyboard warrior. (sic)

With this happening I feel the need to further clarify my personal stance on Choi Hong Hi and the International Taekwon-Do Federation. I do not recant anything I said in previous posts, but I will further clarify my beliefs briefly. I think that if I make statements about what I believe to be historical facts and truth people who do not agree need to address them civilly with me instead of insults. All the ITF and Jasmine Choi did was insult me with name calling and straw man arguments. They did not once address the claims I made. Also they deny that in one photo General Choi is holding hands with Kim Jung Il. I personally see them holding hands in the photo. Either that or they are standing extra close! Either way it is obvious General Choi supported North Korea and did not have a problem with Kim Jung Il.

The reason I started this blog was because I dedicated my life to Taekwondo training and worked so hard to get where I am today. I love Taekwondo and I am tired of seeing it become weak and I also hate seeing it insulted by ignorant masses. Taekwondo is the butt of almost every martial art joke by so many styles of martial arts. Within Taekwondo there is a war with ITF and people who train in WTF/Kukkiwon style. Yes, maybe the heads f ITF and Kukkiwon have diplomatic meetings but the culture inside ITF and its practitioners so extremely harsh to the Kukkiwon, WTF, South Korea and practitioners of Kukki-Taekwondo. This is annoying and for decades ITF people have constantly bad mouthed South Korea, WTF and Kukkiwon and claim people who train in our style are not true fighters or real martial artists. That all we do is a sport. ITF has spouted so many logical fallacies and insults about our martial art it is time someone like me defends it and fights back not pulling any punches. The ITF can disrespect so much about Taekwondo people while claiming their Taekwon-Do is the only truth, yet they cannot receive equal and just criticism. They can dish it out but cannot take it. They are overly sensitive. WTF and Kukki stylists have taken so much trash we have only developed way thicker skin. This is something people like Jasmine Choi and ITF followers need as well. She and her followers will insult me and claim I am not respectful enough to be a master yet she herself is insulting and being respectful on my blog. She has posted a bunch of name calling insults to me and wrongful judgments about my character. Yet she is the daughter of a master and acts this way and claims I should not be a master? This is hypocritical.

I assumed she must have been an ITF master ranked practitioner but according to her Facebook page on various comments on some of her photos it is stated that she does not actually train in Taekwon-Do and has not for over 20 years. She does aerobics or something. So she is not at all a master of martial arts yet she wants to lecture people about being a master. According to ITF you are only a master at 6th or 7th dan I believe and that takes a long time. She is only 35 years old and has not trained for 20 years. That means she had to have quit training as a teenager. No way she is a master of Taekwon-Do or any martial art. Her sole authority lays on her being a member of the Choi family. That is not impressive.

The ITF has always vehemently opposed the Kukkiwon yet time and time again the KTA and Kukkiwon give them a voice and want to meet and create some kind of diplomacy. It never works out. Nothing seems to appease ITF. We don’t need ecumenical attitudes anymore. Just be separate and do our own thing.

Now we have MMA onlyists who think all traditional martial arts sucks especially Taekwondo bad mouthing our martial art. I try my best to defend Taekwondo as a true fighting art that is not only good for self defense, but capable in MMA competition. But to do it honestly I have to also criticize all mcdojang groups and even the wrong things I see the Kukkiwon do from time to time. This blog does not only attack the ITF. In fact ITF posts are not the majority of what I post on my blog. I spend more time criticizing other mcdojang organizations. I also openly criticize the Kukkiwon when it does things I think are ridicuous. Especially Taekwondo dancing and other nonsense. I have always wanted to promote Taekwondo as a martial art, a real fighting system that we can be proud of training in without feeling embarrassed to admit it. Mcdojangism needs to stop. I did not spend over 20 years of my life wasting my time in a dance style or something that cannot save my life if it is threatened. I trained hard in Taekwondo fighting to stand up against bullies and other types of threats. Kukki-Taekwondo has only made me strong both physically and mentally. It works! It is a true martial art. A true fighting art.

With that being said, this is what I believe about General Choi. Take it or leave it!

General Choi was one of the founders of Taekwondo. He was very influential in the early stages especially on the name of Taekwondo. It is debatable if he came up with the name by himself or he simply used a suggested name by one of his associates who brought it up. No matter, he is the one who promoted the name Taekwondo and if it was not for this we would not be training in a martial art with this name. The KTA changed the name from Taekwondo to Tae Soo Do and General Choi influenced them to change it back. I thank him for this as Taekwondo is the best name for our martial art. On the other hand Choi later emphasized the name has to be spelled in English as “Taekwon-Do” which has no grammatical purpose and has nothing to do with original Korean language. Hangul has no hyphens and it is not necessary to translate into English. He changed the spelling to simply differentiate his style as something other than what the KTA and Kukkiwon were doing.

General Choi deserves credit where it is due and he deserves acknowledgement as a historic Taekwondo figure. He heavily promoted kwan unification with other founders and wanted to promote a truly Korean martial art. That is the only respect I can give him.

General Choi had the intention of what the Kukkiwon says is “a power man.” He wanted full control with no question of the KTA. This is why the KTA masters asked him to resign and forced him to step down. He had the attitude of a dictator within the KTA and had a huge ego. The other kwan leaders did not like this nor should they have.

General Choi did sympathize with Juche philosophy (which is North Korean communism) as he named a form with that name. He moved to North Korea and died there. He is buried there and given high honor by North Korea. I think this is wrong and the ITF should openly declare what Kim Jung Eun is doing is wrong. Because of the Kim dynasty millions of North Koreans starved to death and many South Koreans were murdered and many soldiers both South Korean and Americans died fighting this evil. Now we have constant nuclear threats by a crazed lunatic in North Korea, and the ITF simply wants to be diplomatic and kind to them and allow North Korean ITF to come to various countries (including USA) to do demonstrations. Screw that! How can ITF justify Choi going to North Korea to teach them martial arts, essentially teaching their soldiers how to fight better which will in turn be used to kill defectors in North Korea, and South Korean and US soldiers if there is another fight. How is this okay? Explain it Jasmine Choi and explain it ITF! Was it really to unify both Korea’s in peace by teaching them killing techniques? How so? How is this a peace mission and not a slight at South Korea?

General Choi was a 2 star general when he was president of KTA but he was not a martial arts master. There is no evidence to support he had a master rank in Japanese Karate under Funikoshi. The only rank people can argue for is up to 2nd dan, yet there is not sufficient evidence to support he has a black belt when he was trying to run the KTA. The official Kukkiwon stance that I learned while in Korea taking their course is that Choi was in fact not actually a black belt and instead self trained without a dojo. He was given an honorary 4th dan black belt by Duk Sung Son of the Chungdokwan. That means he was given an honorary rank and not a skilled and tested rank through an actual promotion test. Duk Sung Son later recanted that and openly wrote in a news paper that he revoked Choi’s 4th dan because he was upset at Choi’s attitude and Choi literally demanded he be given a 5th dan rank. So Choi was not happy with honorary 4th dan and demanded even more rank. That is ego. So as he started the ITF he had no real rank by a legitimate grandmaster to fall back on such as Funikoshi like other founders of Taekwondo. Most of the other founders of Taekwondo who are usually ignored by ITF members when giving credit to people actually were legitimate martial arts masters and had 4th and 5th degree black belts. Some also studied for may years Chinese martial arts and were masters of Kung Fu styles. Choi did not have such skills or any ranks. Choi came up with a name, but skill and technique-wise he did not create Taekwondo.

ITF is not the only true organization of Taekwondo. It is simply an organization of another style of martial arts apart from Korea. The Korean government recognizes Kukki-Taekwondo as their national martial art much like Japan’s government officially recognized Japanese Karate such as Shotokan and others as official Japanese martial arts. Black belts have always been recognized and affirmed by the government of the country the martial arts were founded in. Going back to Japanese Karate all the way to Korean Taekwondo, the black belt certifications have always been government recognized. It is a very important thing and the KTA was (and Kukkiwon now is) officially recognized by the Korean government. ITF is not. ITF is recognized by Canada’s government making it a Canadian organization. Later North Korea recognizes it.

I do not think Choi completely sucked at martial arts. Sure he had skills but he was not good enough to found a martial art style when he did. The ITF does have some legitimate martial arts techniques such as basic kicks and punches etc. but I do not think their forms were put together well and Choi creating the sine-wave shows he really did not understand proper physics or actual combat very well. The other masters of various kwans actually were real fighters and knew combat. Even so I personally do practice some ITF forms such as Hwa Rang and a few others I like. I also understand that the KTA in early promotion tests accepted a couple of Choi’s tul as testable material for rank. Historic Taekwondo forms are always something I am interested in learning.

ITF does have some good fighters. For instace Coner McGregor has an ITF background and is a black belt and uses ITF style Taekwon-Do techniques in the UFC. Many of the techniques are also similar to Kukki-Taekwondo techniques. So I may not personally like the ITF but I do not deny some of their people are good at fighting or that some of their techniques can work. I have always maintained this position ever since I started this blog. Yet, Kukki/WTF has had people like Anderson Silva (one of the best fighters of all time in MMA) with training history and black belt ranks.

I do not think Taekwondo needs to be ecumenical and support all of the organizations. I think separation is best. ITF can do its own thing and stay out of our business and we can do the same to them. But they should stop acting like they are the sole truth of Taekwondo and should only claim they are their own style.

I will not support ITF because of its historic ties to North Korea and Juche communism. My article has all the information on that and anyone can read it.

If the ITF and people like Jasmine Choi can only name call, ridicule, straw man, and use various other logical fallacies to argue their case then that is pathetic and only shows ITF acts like a cult and needs to chill out. If it wasn’t for her being related to General Choi she would be just another woman who used to train as a teenager. There are many people like that. Her being related to General Choi does not prove her correct or true. She needs to argue logically and politely with me if she wants to debate something. That goes for all ITF people who disagree with me. Don’t be a hypocrite and say I am disrespectful therefore I am not a true Taekwondo master yet do the same thing to me while claiming to be an important Taekwondo figure.

My blog may be extremely critical about the ITF (something I never hide), but it is also very critical of things that the Kukkiwon does and WTF and other groups as well. I do not refrain from expressing my opinion about Taekwondo and martial arts no matter my allegiance. I am Kukki-Taekwondo and ranked as a master and proud of it. I fully believe Kukkiwon is the true Korean Taekwondo organization, but yet I will not refrain from often criticizing them for things I don’t agree with that they do (and there are plenty!).

The ITF has yet to prove me wrong about my claims on General Choi’s communist sympathy.

Again, I will declare General Choi Hong Hi, 2 star general, first president of the KTA and “namer” of the martial art of Taekwondo, deserves credit as one of the founders of Taekwondo and promotion of Korean martial arts. But that is all. Nothing else he did benefited our martial art but instead himself and the ITF.

 

Quick Update 2016

        Just a quick update. I will post new things soon enough. I have been pretty busy training, passing the FIC, training in Filipino martial arts in the Philippines and moving. I will post more about my experiences taking the Kukkiwon Foreign Instructor’s Course and Taekwondo training as well as my experiences training in Ensayo Kali in the Philippines. So stay tuned for that. I have been sick for awhile and I am recovering and doing various things.

Here is a short video made by my friend Abby who runs a Korea Vlogging channel on YouTube. We visited the Kukkiwon together:

Sexual Gay Taekwondo Dancing At Kukkiwon Hanmadang

        It never ends. Why….why do they keep doing this! I filmed this today at the Kukkiwon. This was during the World Taekwondo Hanmadang 2016. They literally call the event Taekwondo Aerobics. Like an event for dancing and aerobic exercise which includes drama with props and stuff sometimes.

Yep, this is the direction the Kukkiwon is going…and they wonder why they lose so many students to MMA and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and other martial arts. Taekwondo black belts fit more into the drama club than anywhere else. This is some seductive and flamboyant crap.

I don’t have to agree with everything the Kukkiwon does or allows. I don’t.

I Completed The Kukkiwon International Instructors Course

        I completed this 51st Kukkiwon International Instructors Course for 2016 in Korea. It was held in the Kukkiwon itself in Gangnam in Seoul. Here is a video of what I was able to film. I really had no time to take many photos or videos during the training so all of the really cool stuff I could not film which is too bad. It was 5 days of lack of sleep for me and intense heat and hard work. I will never forget it. I am satisfied to claim I have completed master training for Taekwondo.

What I learned I will be able to take with me into my teaching in my future dojang. Not a lot of Taekwondo teachers have what I have since I was blessed enough to go to Korea.

My completion certificate and my new Kukkiwon/WTA dobok. Awesome!

Hwang In Shik is 73 years old and can still kick above his head like a maniac and do extreme cardio conditioning. 

I will post more details about the course later when I have more time. There are a lot of things to talk about and I feel motivated about the direction the Kukkiwon is taking Taekwondo. We were even taught by many famous Kukkiwon masters. Some of the guys I have seen in videos were there in person! I met Grandmaster Hwang In Shik and others.

 

Is Taekwondo A Respected Martial Art In Korea?

        We all know Taekwondo does not get much respected around the world, but what about inside Korea? Do Koreans themselves respect their country’s #1 martial art style? I just want to give some quick thoughts during my time in Korea and to update a bit on what I have been doing.

        The truth is Taekwondo is not really respected in Korea and 90% of Koreans do not take it seriously or think it i an effective fighting system. I have talked to many adult Koreans about this and they all think Taekwondo is pointless or unimportant. When Korea itself has a lack of love for their nations national fighting art we know Taekwondo is in bad shape. Most adults will take up boxing or Jiujitsu instead of Taekwondo. Heck, hardly any even do Hapkido either. Taekwondo is seen as a child’s exercise. It is something for the moms to drop their kids off after school between going to hagwons (private academies for extra studying). A large amount of Korean kids are pushed to study school subjects all day even to late hours in the night. This gives kids an hour or less basically to do some physical activity. Most Taekwondo classes consist of kids jumping rope to kpop, techno, and hip hop music for at least 15 minutes. This gives the sabum much time to waste in his or her office where he gets paid to not teach anything. After they waste time jumping rope they may go over some punches or blocks and a few kicks. After that they may play a game with a ball or sit around and waste time. Even the people who claim to be real true martial arts masters of the Kukkiwon seem to do this. They literally teach the children for about 20 minutes total each class. The rest is spent jumping rope, sitting around for a “break” (oh they must be soooooo tired after all that lazy rope skipping in the mirror and talking they just did) and playing games like soccer or something. It seems like a necessity for every Taekwondo master to own a bouncy castle which they set up from time to time on occasions. I saw this with my own eyes.

        There are hardly any adults who actually train in Taekwondo seriously. The rest just casually do it for working out and never want to make any kind of body contact. They do not want to one step spar, practice hoshinsool or do any kyureugi. The serious adults who like martial arts will end up training in something real like MMA. The most popular martial art in Korea by far right now is not Taekwondo. It is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. After that comes MMA or boxing.

        There are teenagers and young adults who do Taekwondo as a demonstration for theatrical performance art. These black belts and masters specialize in acrobatics and dancing. They are not strong. There is an extreme lack of strong people in Taekwondo. People who have power and abilities for fighting. I talked to a Korean who practiced Kyokushin Karate and was a 2nd dan and he expressed a lot of anger about Taekwondo. There is a bitterness and frustration to many Koreans who like true martial arts about Taekwondo. He told me that the old masters of Taekwondo are very concerned that there are no longer any strong black belts in Taekwondo and they are all weak.

        Many older people I talked to about martial arts in my English classes were confused as to why I came to Korea to learn “real Taekwondo.” I now understand why as even I have become confused as to why I made this journey. Well I am not actually confused, I am just disappointed. Anything I came here to learn about “actual fighting” has never came about. I had to join MMA to actually learn combat. Anything I learned in Korea could have been learned in the United States. I could have found a Kukkiwon master who knows the current KTA standards in the USA instead of coming all the way to Korea. In Korea all that seems to be taught is poomsae half assed, and many repititions of moves in a mirror which I could have done by myself at home and not paid money for.

        Koreans know the truth. Taekwondo is not being taught for realistic fighting. The few masters who care about this have no power to change anything or simply do not care. The leaders of Taekwondo have no vision and are more concerned with money and spreading Korean culture worldwide and making Taekwondo into some corporate club for Korean nationalism that has nothing to do with fighting. In fact the culture of Korea you learn in Taekwondo or through dojangs and memberships or tournaments is not actual Korean culture. To really learn Korean culture you must live here for awhile and understand Korea is a cold and bitter place more often than not. If you want to learn Korean culture then learn Korean culture. If you want to learn martial arts you must study fighting. Taekwondo does not have enough fighting study in the dojangs around the world, especially in Korea. It is simply a way to make money for young masters who have dreams of running large Korean daycare centers that teach kids to kick things sometimes. This is really a shame.

        One that I feel sad about is the lack of Kukkiwon fighters. Where are our fighting champions who will prove this art is real? All we have are the latest Olympic champions of WTF sparring that absolutely nobody cares about outside of WTF Taekwondo. Ask people who Steven Lopez is. Nobody knows or gives a crap. And most certainly the average Korean has no clue who he is either. Korean kids and teenagers know who soccer players and baseball players are. Not who is a Taekwondo master who has accomplished anything.

        I have since walked away from my dojang in Korea and dedicated the rest of my Korean training in MMA from my Korean MMA and Jijitsu instructor who actually teaches me how to fight. The rest of my Taekwondo time in Korea will be spent studying and learning in the Kukkiwon Foreign Instructor Course and watching the World Hanmadang. I could not compete in the Hanmadang because the website was too dang confusing and by the time I tried to sign up it was past the registration date. Oh well.

        Taekwondo is respected in Korea only as some cultural heritage Koreans do as kids, or to show off demonstrations and eventually become kpop dance stars. Other than that nobody cares. The martial arts enthusiasts here simply do not care about Taekwondo very much. The few who do, the fighters who do MMA, the old masters, simply do not have enough power or influence to change this or they are simply keeping their mouths shut and allowing all of this nonsense to happen because of some cultural reason westerners do not understand. Why would old masters not talk about the problems of Taekwondo today and why do they all all of the stupid things such as Taekwon-dancing, and Olympic leg fencing to go on? Do they not realize the loss of popularity Taekwondo has suffered and the authoritative influence of the Kukkiwon is waning in foreign lands? Even with these problems I still fully 100% support the Kukkiwon as the authoritative organization of Taekwondo, to give rank and the historic linage of Taekwondo unifying through it. It seems it may take foreigners like me to openly talk about this and try to influence Koreans to start making Taekwondo a respected self defense system that actually works, and a fighting system. I hope more people start talking which will influence Koreans to openly talk and make a change. There are far too many lazy instructors who don’t care and half ass teach their students, and many corporate white collar types trying to make money. They need new leadership.

How To Get To The Kukkiwon In Korea

        If you are ever going to visit Korea you are probably going to go to the Kukkiwon at some point since you are a Taekwondoin. It is absolutely easy to get to the Kukkiwon once you know where it is. The first time I found the Kukkiwon I randomly walked into on on accident in Gangnam. I have since been there a few times doing whatever, namely to go to the Mooto and KSD store. Here is a video about how to find the Kukkiwon.

Basically take subway line 2. It is the light green line. You want to go to Gangnam Station. Once you get to Gangnam station go to exit 12 and walk up the steps. Once you get outside keep waking straight. You will see a McDonalds and Daiso store on the left. Keep walking to the first crosswalk. Do not cross the street. Instead turn left up the steps on the corner. There is a thrift store type fashion store with clothes outside right there. When you turn left up the street stay on that side and walk straight up. The street is a steep hill. You will walk right next to a Mooto store. Feel free to check it out and buy stuff. Or look and come back and buy stuff. Then you will see a park with a pavilion on the left. Keep walking. You will see the Kukkiwon gate, that is the sign you are basically there. Walk up the hill more and take the low road. The high road will take you beside the building and it will not be a good experience. You want to see the Kukkiwon straight on in the front for your first time to get the proper experience. Once you take the low road you will walk right in front of the Kukkiwon and you can walk up the walkway to the front steps.

After that you can check out the Kukkiwon and explore the halls and the dojang floor. It is usually set up like a theater with a stage since they do so many demonstration shows with theatrics. You cannot actually train there. After that go explore the outside grounds and see some rock monuments dedicated to the Olympics and things like that. You can walk around the whole building and behind it there is a pavilion that is nice to sit in and take photos. Behind that is a small fitness park for old Korean people. Across the front parking lot there is an area you can get a few of part of Gangnam with some sky scrapers and things. There is another small fitness park there. Behind the Kukkiwon on the left side the the Taekwondo museum which has a lot of Olympic trinkets and artifacts. It is actually quite boring since it has nothing to do with fighting or interesting stuff except joining the Olympic games. But I have to say there are some old doboks of world champions and some old sparring gear to look at. Other than that there is some faulty Korean history that is simply not true about Taekwondo and a lot of things dedicated to Dr. Un Young Kim. The best thing in the museum are the original Kwan seals on brass plates. It has all 9 kwans listed with their original spellings in English and insignia. Very cool and that is the main reason to go into the museum.

After you explore the Kukkiwon and have your Taekwondo fantasy realized to see the heart of Taekwondo worldwide you can relax as you will somewhat be disappointed in the fact the Kukkiwon is not at all impressive as a building and is boring…but still, YOU DID IT! Take tons of photos and be proud of your black belt rank! I am! Even though it is not very impressive I still like going an I still feel a Taekwondo connection. The next thing to do is go to the KSD store. Walk out in front of the Kukkiwon and turn left down the street and you will walk down a small hill right into the KSD martial arts store. You can buy Taekwondo gear. They usually sell Nike, Adidas, Star, and KSD brand equipment. They have cheap kicking paddles for 17 bucks. Cheaper than the Mooto store. They have some patches and cool t-shirts of the Kukkiwon for very cheap. There are cheap Taekwondo shoes and doboks. You can buy belts and more. The store is more plain than the Mooto store but you need to price shop and check everything out. After you leave the Kukkiwon make sure to buy what you need in the Mooto shop. Buy doboks, get an embroidered belt ordered for pickup, buy more patches than the KSD has, buy MMA stuff, shoes whatever.

Enjoy your time in Korea as a Taekwondoin and make sure you tour the Kukkiwon. You can walk in on your own. It is open to the public. When the Korean Kukkiwon people see foreigners they smile and nod or bow some and are happy to have you. But hardly any speak English so you have to ask for help and they will walk around until they find someone who speaks English and you can ask them what you want.

Finally, make sure that when you come to Korea and visit the Kukkiwon you have time. In the evening they usually have a free Kukkiwon Demo Team show you can just watch. It is top notch and really fun even if it includes some stupid Taekwon-dance crap and slly stuff. The flying kicks are amazing and the poomsae looks tight and it pumps you up. Enjoy it! It is entertainment.

Right now though they have The Greatest Taekwondo Show which is a huge demo which costs 40,000W (about $40 and if you have a dan ID card you get a discount for about 20 bucks). I think I will go to this show sometime just to check it out. This is a special event that has been running for weeks now. Maybe after they finish up they will go back to the free Kukkiwon Demo Team shows again. I am not sure.